Such a waste of 'housing' materials. I guess they can find plenty more wherever they went to? If they got several days notice surely they could do some salvaging by putting the essentials to one side and carting them off.... And what's the hurry about having to demolish the slum in one day?
The Roma camp on the rails at Porte des Poissonniers was evacuated this morning starting at 7:30 a.m. It wasn't at all a surprise raid as the residents had been informed of the schedule several days ago and more than half of them had left the camp by last night. There were 135 shacks in all, with a population of about 400 people. ... ... This time the Roma residents were a bit better organised and had time to form a building association. Many of them are carpenters, masons, plumbers, etc., so all they are asking for is a piece of nearby land on which to build their own village. The authorities have mixed feelings about this because while it is good that the people are being a little more dynamic, the creation of a closed community is not at all in line with the goals of integration to French society. I'm sure there will be more on the matter, but probably not on the "petite ceinture" thread! Who knows?
This saga continues to be fascinating, especially because it creates inevitable thoughts of "why don't they ...?" -- and you manage to answer or rebut many of those thoughts before they're even articulated.
As for, ".. all they are asking for is a piece of nearby land ..." -- that's not such a little thing in terms of practicality or civic fairness Whereas compassion says that these disenfranchised people should be given a leg up, the official mixed feelings have validity in that a culturally closed community would only perpetuate the marginalization.
It would be a daunting enterprise, but everyone who has seen your various reports containing stories of refugees, homeless encampments, Roma, etc. would be grateful for and fascinated by an umbrella thread devoted to those subjects.
It is a different set of circumstances but shacks/makeshift dwellings are just a way of life here. It has been many years since the authorities have bulldozed any of them. Many locals are growing bitter and resentful that although they earn good money there is nowhere near to a city center they can move to. Instead they crowd along wasteland on the edge of town. They are no better off than they were 20 odd years ago. Dreams of affordable housing, running water and proper sanitation are a mere pipe-dream for millions.
Kerouac, I was wondering if anymore of the Petite Ceinture line has been revamped for strolling along? I am going through this thread from the beginning so that I can get an idea of the best bits to explore in September. I would like to do at least one nice long walk along it. I am interested mainly in the sections with little artists studios or small gardens.
The last bit that was finished was what I showed in the 13th arrondissement, and it will need a couple of years for the vegetation to fill in. The best natural walk is the quite long stretch from La Muette to Porte d'Auteuil. I actually used to take the train on that section (which closed in 1984 and had the rails removed in 1993). Also interesting is the stretch in the 15th from rue Olivier de Serres to Place Balard. That one is quite a bit like the Promenade Plantée except that it has been kept natural and not gardened like in the 12th arrondissement.
The stretch with the artists' workshops ("Passage des Voûtes") is in the 19th from the Canal de l'Ourcq to rue Barbanègre.
I've just reread the complete thread as well. Todd, and find more and more areas look familiar to me. I was surprised to see how close I'd been to the pc in some of the areas I visited summer, but hadn't realized it at the time.
And, of course, it's a brilliant thread.
Kerouac, I had forgotten you'd gone to that club. Maybe you need to learn to take sneaky phone pics in certain places like everyone else.
Visiting the Pavillon de l'Arsenal today to see a fascinating exhibition about the Haussmannian transformation of Paris, I came across this incredible timetable for the petite ceinture (it was in another part of the building, not part of the Haussmann stuff) and it struck me how they would never dare to present anything this way now, at least not for the general public. We are too used to seeing everything in columns and boxes without the least bit of whimsy.
Although the weather was far from ideal today, I set out for an event that was planned on the Petite Ceinture near Porte de Saint Ouen. One of the local gardening and horticultural associations had organised an outing along the rails to discover some of the more than 1000 species of wild plants that are growing there, many of which are edible or medicinal. While the association has a lot of experts in it, they were hoping that new visitors would be able to identify even more of the plants with their books and also by taking as many photos as possible. Well, I know nothing about these things, but I am always willing to take photos. So I went to the location (165 rue Belliard) and was disappointed.
It has been postponed until Monday (which happens to be a bank holiday, so they are not being cruel to working people). Maybe the weather will be better.
I peered down at the rails and knew that I would be back.
Frankly, I am impressed that such a major installation of temporary stairs would be installed for an event like this.
They are better than a lot of permanent stairs in many countries. It is better now, but I've climbed some horrors here, in icy weather.
Ha! For a moment I thought that K2 was disappointed because of the "Go Vegan" injunction.
That is already causing disputes among the local urban agriculture people, as in my arrondissement they are allowing people to keep a few chickens, and the vegans are claiming that this is a cruel practice (I guess because the hens end up in someone's pot when they are spent, but they will have much more pleasant lives in the meantime than battery chickens) and that people shouldn't eat poultry or eggs.
This is an excellent thread, and it's amazing to think you started it almost four years ago. I've just now read over the first page once again and spotted sections in the area of the Canal de l'Ourcq where I took photos a few weeks ago. It hadn't even dawned on me that the bridge I'd photographed was part of the petite ceinture.
Wonderful job on the last bit, too, Kerouac. It's nice these community organizations are working together to preserve and protect parts of the track.
We explore the 13th and surrounding areas regularly. The PC is always a fascinating place; the new park west of Port d'Italie is one of our favorite stopping spots. Recently while there we noticed that the gate in the fence at the east end was OPEN. OK, that invites a look.
The closer view of the gate at the entrance to the tunnel. We were already inside the gate.
This very nicely constructed insect and bird house is within a few dozen meters of the doors to the tunnel.
Since the door was open, we went into the tunnel too.
This tunnel extends almost to Ave d'Italie (it is open for a stretch) and as you can see it is well maintained with the overhead lights working and a TRAIN in place.
Further east of Ave d'Italie, the trench is being actively used to prepare the extension of the Line 14 Metro towards Maison Blanche and eventual connection to the Metro - Tram connections to ORLY.
Oh, this is a nice surprise update! I see there are other people in the tunnel picture. Do you think many people wander through there? Your pictures are great, but that dark entrance looks a little daunting.
Apologies if this has already been answered, but are the Roma who set up this & similar camps generally French citizens?
I am curious because of other ad hoc encampments or gathering places you've shown of refugees from other countries. Also, because I recently watched two youtube videos back to back. The first was of a man who builds tiny shelters on wheels for the homeless in Los Angeles, but is not allowed to distribute them because the city deems them disruptive in terms of blocking sidewalks, etc. The second video featured similar minimal housing, but with the difference that the city of Eugene, Oregan not only allowed it, but provided a funded space for it, creating a community with rules and shared facilities. The Oregon community has success stories of people managing to pull themselves out of homelessness.
There are basically two kinds of non sedentary gypsies in France -- the French gypsies (sometimes with Spanish and Italian gypsies) who live in caravans at official campsites on the outskirts of town. Every town in France with a population of more than 2000 is obliged to provide one or more camp zones with running water and access to electricity. The gypsy children generally go to school, although attendance may not be extremely regular.
The camps shown above are Roma camps. They are not at all refugees, because they are citizens of the EU, generally from Bulgaria, Romania and sometime Hungary. They are encouraged to enrol their children in school, and they receive survival stipends from the government as well as health care. Naturally, they are also "infiltrated" by non-EU Roma from Moldova and Albania but who fit in because they have the same culture. Although the men do a few odd jobs, they do not appear to make much of an effort to fit into French society (or are prevented from doing so -- I am not an expert). Living in shanties seems to be a perfectly fine lifestyle for a lot of them. It can be hoped that their children will want something more.
The migrants are mostly in cheap tents or sometimes don't even have tents and are living in abandoned tunnels on beneath overpasses. The government keeps dismantling their camps and busing them to temporary housing centres or tired old hotels, but housing is generally only provided for about two weeks, and then they are back in the street. Obviously they are supposed to use these two weeks to get their papers in order and apply for official refugee status, but it is just too complicated for most of them, especially when they don't speak French.
We will continue to see people living like this for years, maybe forever.